Let me get this out of my system now: Omelet’n you in on an eggceptional eggstravaganza of eggstreme eggercizes in an eggcitement that’ll leave you shell-shocked!

Earlier this month a video was posted on YouTube that began to make waves. It featured a teppanyaki chef in China who juggled a raw egg with a spatula in a way that seems to defy physics.

The chef paddles around the delicate ovoid as if it were a mere ping pong ball. If that weren’t enough, for the finale he then catches the egg along the edge of the spatula causing it to split. With that he begins to draw a heart with an arrow through it using the egg white.

Viewers were impressed with this feat of egg manipulation reacting with comments of “amazing” and “it’s like magic.” However, many were quick to ask if the chef wasn’t really Japanese saying, “Isn’t teppanyaki a Japanese thing?” and “I thought Japanese people did this stuff.”

The poster of the video laid doubts to rest by confirming it was taken in China by what was most likely a Chinese chef. And on that note, this is probably a good time to also point out that Japanese people actually don’t really do this stuff.

It is true that teppanyaki (or “hibachi” as it is sometimes known) has its origins in post-war Japan at the Kobe Misono Restaurant, which is said to have started the trend of a comedic chef performing tricks on a flat iron skillet called a teppan. But even then it had more appeal with the occupying soldiers than it ever had with the locals.

The general cooking technique of teppanyaki is still easily found in Japan, but it tends to be a relatively straight-laced affair without all the gags and stunts people abroad have come to know and love.

▼ WARNING: This 7-minute video of a Japanese
teppanyaki restaurant contains no stunts or jokes

That amusing style of teppanyaki grew much more rapidly overseas partly due to the successful Benihana chain in North America. Most of these teppanyaki chefs are trained the tricks and routines of the trade on the job by the restaurants in their own home country.

The egg tossing is a standard one among these entertainers. The following shows a egg trick contest held by a hibachi restaurant in Florida.

However, being commonplace doesn’t take away from how impressive it is. Luckily in the next video the hibachi chef was kind enough to reveal one secret to how it works.

▼ Interestingly, this guy draws a heart and arrow at the end too.

He explains that the key is spinning the egg which — if my armchair physicist assumptions are correct — might create an outward force that causes the egg to land straight down on a single point (much like a top). Doing this would allow the shell’s arch strength to help keep it intact.

That being said it would still be awfully easy to break, as the audience volunteers in the video demonstrate. It must also take some skilled wrists to catch the eggs with just the right amount of give.

Knowing all this actually makes this particular Chinese chef’s juggling act even more impressive. He seems to be whacking that egg with a lot more force than in any of the other videos. It’s no surprise it made the news over there as well.

So for all you teppanyaki fans who thinks Japan is the motherland of acrobatic cookery, this may come as a bit of a let down. The best we have for entertaining food preparation is really just Mr. Sato making rice balls with his own dried sweat.

Source: YouTube/SETN, YouTube/24thry
Top image: YouTube/SETN
Insert image: YouTube/Johnpaul Paloma
[ Read in Japanese ]